Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey today said the outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala is a "localised" occurrence and people need not panic, amid reports of dead bats being found on the premises of a government school in Himachal Pradesh.
The National Centre for Disease Control has issued high alert across the country after an outbreak of the Nipah virus (NiV) infection in Kerala.
The group comprises Additional Chief Secretaries of Health, Revenue, Labour, Home; Principal secretary Forest, Director Animal Husbandry and state Epidemiologists, among others. Fruit bats are the natural host of the virus belonging to Pteropodidae family.
Doctors N. Abhilash of the District Hospital (mobile number 9961730233) and Aneesh K.C. of the General Hospital, Thalassery, (9447804603) were appointed nodal officers to deal with Nipah virus infection treatment arrangements. The symptoms include fever and headaches, followed by drowsiness and confusion, leading to possible coma and death within a week.
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He said if Nipah cases were reported in hospitals, including private ones, they should be reported to the integrated disease surveillance programme desk at the District Medical Office here. "But things are peaceful and there is no panic among the people", he says.
Nipah can be spread by fruit bats, pigs and through human-to-human contact. A female relative who was with them in hospital also died later. "Without laboratory reports it can not be said that these bats have been killed by Nipah virus", Mr Choubey said, adding that he has already spoken to the Himachal Pradesh administration over the matter. Two people have died in the neighboring district of Mallapuram.
According Rajesh BV, a health official in Karnataka on Wednesday.
He declined to comment on the Mangalore cases, but identified the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad for tourists in Kerala to avoid, as being close to the outbreak and under scrutiny by health officials.
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While medical professionals are in a rush to contain the virus, it must be noted that there's no cure as of now and the virus is contagious with 75%-100% fatality rate.
It's believed that a nurse treating the victims in Kerala has also died.
Nipah, which the World Health Organisation describes as a "newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans" has killed over 260 people in India, Bangladesh and Malaysia since it was first detected in 1998.
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